Many people spend their time on earth resisting some of the greater things in life, but some things are just too good to refuse.
Being the first to ski through a field of fresh powder or traveling through a valley in an obscure canyon are just a few of the things that are impossible for me to resist.And when it comes to food, who can pass up chocolate mousse - or any form of chocolate - even on a full stomach? I can't. Chocolate has always been my weakness.
I guess it started back a few years ago when I spent some time in Italy among the world's greatest lovers of fine food. After every meal, no matter how much pasta I ate, something sweet followed.
For fear of offending the hostess, I could not turn down a good dessert - especially chocolate.
And now back in the states the tradition continues at my house. After every meal comes the chocolate. There is always room for the rich dessert - it just fills in the cracks.
Several weeks ago I realized I was not the only one with a craving for chocolate. About 600 other people joined me in a chocolate feast at the fourth annual Temptations in Chocolate.
When sponsors of the evening, the Friends of the Provo Public Library, invited me to cover the event, it suddenly became a pleasure to work on a Saturday night. Who could resist free samples of brownies, ice cream, frozen yogurt, fudge, mint truffles, cookies, candy bars, suckers or chocolate milk?
The entire ballroom of the Excelsior Hotel was full of chocolate and chocolate lovers. That's where I met a group of people just like me.
Take the members of the Chocolate Club, for example. This exclusive club, consisting of only six members (because most chocolate desserts shouldn't be cut in more than six pieces) is made up of a handful of employees in the Brigham Young University Library Circulation Dept.
"Chocolate is not a temptation, it's an obsession," said Kim Smith, vice president of the Chocolate Club.
The club meets every Friday at noon to exchange chocolate recipes and pig out on a chocolate dessert. To make it into the club, there are several criteria to meet:
-First of all, one of the six members has to quit.
-Then your chocolate treat has to pass taste tests of the other members.
-Chocolate has to be the main ingredient in the dessert.
-No raisins are allowed.
-Nuts have to be pre-approved by the club president before they can be included.
And then there was Charlie Eads (not Eats). He came all the way from Salt Lake City for the chocolate. During an ice-cream-eating contest, he downed 41/2 Baskin-Robbins sundae bars in seven minutes.
"I love chocolate and ice cream," he said. "I still have room for more, even though my molars are frozen."
The emcee for the event, Steve Morris, was another chocolate supporter. He came appropriately dressed, wearing a brown tux he said was chocolate.
Besides gaining a few pounds at the event, I realized I don't have to feel guilty anymore about enjoying something so much. The days of rationalizing are over.
Here are just a few candy facts I picked up. Did you know that scientists in the Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology said the desire for sweets is inborn?
There goes the theory on my sweet tooth and blaming the Italians.
Did you know that candy supplies vitamins, nutrients and food energy? The U.S. Department of Agriculture Home and Garden Bulletin said that milk, eggs, nuts and dried fruits are all ingredients of a well-balanced diet and are found in candy. Milk chocolate alone has calcium, phosphorous, iron, potassium, protein, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin.
Add to that a study by Helen A. Guthrie from Pennsylvania State University that says our bodies cannot distinguish between sugars gotten from fruits, vegetables, milk, honey or confections.
And according to the American Dietetic Association and Food and Drug Administration, chocolate has less caffeine per serving than coffee, tea or soft drinks. A 1.5-ounce chocolate bar contains only 9 milligrams of caffeine, well below the 450-900 milligrams needed for overstimulation.
Want some more justifications for eating chocolate? I knew you did.
Here is the best so far. Obesity is not caused by confectionery products. Studies by doctors at the Frances Stern Nutrition Center and Tufts University show that overweight children consume fewer total calories than other children. The problem comes from insufficient exercise.
And did you know that carrots can produce a higher blood sugar level than chocolate bars or honey? That's what doctors from the University of Toronto and University of Minnesota say.
The list goes on and on. An apple can cause as much tooth decay as a candy bar, sugar makes people sleepy - not hyperactive - and acne is neither caused nor aggravated by chocolate consumption. I promise I'm not making this up. I'm backed by medical research from throughout the country.
So why not indulge today. Chocolate is good for you and life is for enjoying. Buon appetito!